Dirty Rotten Tricks Video #5: The Testimonials Scam – Part 2
The second video on the “testimonials” scam (if you missed the first video and its accompanying article, you can find it here!) discusses some additional underhanded ways retailers blanket the web with positive comments, feedback, and testimonials, making it appear like their products are extremely popular and effective.
One of the main points made in the first video is that you can’t trust any positive comment posted anywhere, since…
- You can’t authenticate any of them.
- It’s easy to “game the system”, even on trusted, respected sites that have no affiliation to the retailer in question.
But what if you happened to own the web site on which the product feedback and comments are posted?
Over the last few years, there’s been an explosion of web sites which claim to be dedicated to the frank and honest discourse between consumers of weight loss products, gadgets and programs.
Consumers have embraced the concept, and these sort of sites have grown very popular; especially when at face value, it seems like a great idea!
At this point, it probably won’t surprise you to learn there is a major problem with these sites; many of them are owned and operated by the supplement companies or retailers themselves (for specifics on what companies own what sites (which often perform “unbiased” reviews as well as gather customer feedback), please see this article!).
That’s a huge conflict of interest.
Think of it; the same people who stand to profit the most from positive feedback being posted on their products are the same one moderating the comments and selecting which ones will appear on their web sites and blogs.
You don’t have to be a genius to see this is a perfect recipe for fraudulent behavior.
Think of the “opportunities”…
- Make up positive comments for your own products.
- Arbitrarily approve positive feedback that has been outsourced to hiring services like MicroWorkers.com.
- Delete negative feedback, ensuring your visitors never see it.
- Delete positive feedback posted for your competitor’s products, should you be forced to feature them on your web site.
- Fabricate negative feedback for your competitor’s products, making them appear unpopular and inferior.
At the end of the day, many of these “open discussion” sites are nothing of the sort, since any derogatory comments are simply deleted outright (over the years, we’ve received reams of emails from visitors alleging that their less than complementary feedback was never posted by site moderators). Instead of fair and balanced discussions, you end up with a cheering section for the company in question’s products.
Of course, having reviewed most of the products on this site, we know that moderators are likely to be deleting negative feedback, fabricating positive feedback, and cherry-picking the comments they do present to ensure the product in question receives nothing but glowing reviews from happy and enthusiastic users.
We know this because we’ve looked at the scientific studies behind the ingredients of most of these products, and we know there’s nothing that can support the sorts of results being reported.
So what are we left with?
It all comes down to the same thing…
You can’t trust any posted comments and feedback anywhere (you can’t even trust negative feedback, since that may be posted by a competitor). Even if the comments you read are genuine, you simply don’t know whether they represent an accurate assessment of the product’s effects, since the retailer may have deleted dozens of negative ones.
At the end of the day, you simply cannot assess the effectiveness of any product by reading what others may have said about it. You need to review the supporting science behind the ingredients, and see if that corroborates the retailer’s claims. Luckily, we do that for you – all you have to do then, is read our reviews!